03 · 14 · 2018
You Can’t Automate Relationships
The promise of marketing automation is seductive. It promises prioritized leads from multiple campaigns and more data than you can shake a stick at. The pitch the vendors of marketing-automation software typically goes something like this (we’ll call the vendor RainbowPot):
By evaluating and reacting to each of your website’s visitors, RainbowPot’s proprietary platform enables you to establish innumerable digital relationships. You’ll be able to consider these ephemeral, anonymous relationships prospects; score them by whatever arbitrary criteria you like; drill down to find out who really loves you; and be able to inundate them with sales-ready spam, whenever you want to. Then you’ll be able to engage them in meaningful conversations with automated, personalized emails, at least until they unsubscribe.
Innumerable digital relationships? We’ll be able to consider each of these ephemeral, anonymous relationships a prospect? What? By what criterion has each of those ephemeral, anonymous relationships qualified to be even a suspect? Have we missed the boat?
Up Close and Impersonal
We’ve never bought anything from a digit. We’re not even sure we have anything we’d consider digital relationships. Can you have a drink with a digit? Of this we’re sure: We’ve never had a conversation with an email. And we have no idea how an automated email can be personal.
Have you ever had a meaningful conversation with a form letter? Isn’t a form letter the impersonal, snail-mail equivalent of an automated email? The closest we’ve ever come to a meaningful conversation with a form letter was the response we sent to one summoning us to report for jury duty. And we responded only because we would have been arrested, quite personally, if we didn’t.
If you work for Acme Zoogers, it won’t matter if your job is in sales, if it’s in marketing, or if you’re a professional data-driller. RainbowPot may very well help you automate sales and sell more zoogers than your boss ever dreamed of, especially if you’re selling those zoogers for a buck apiece.
But if you’re selling customized services and specialized products like we are, the only things you’ll be automating with RainbowPot are stagnation (what’s more stultifying than aggregating numbers for the sake of aggregating numbers?), alienation from your prospects (most automated emails have never heard of Dale Carnegie), and failure.
Relationships can’t be automated. Neither can sales.
People buy value from people.
Image by LadyBB, courtesy of pixabay.com.